Summer Market Dates

What a season it’s been!  We sold out of our own honey early in 2021 and have been carrying honey from a fellow local beekeeper friend so that we know we’re bringing you quality local honey from a reputable source.  The support this past year from new and returning customers and friends sharing word about the business has been truly overwhelming.  We’re grateful for each and every one of you, every second of bee-nerd chat at the stand, every comment and share on social media, and every purchase.

Our own honey production is slowly starting to swing into gear with the bees expanding the size of their colonies, flowers blooming, nectar sources waking up from a long winter sleep.  Hopefully we’ll have our first round in early to mid June!  It’s exciting, after such a long winter, to be here again, and we’re ready for it.  Summer season market dates are posted up on the markets page, but here they are as well.  Hope to see you out at a market soon to shop with so many amazing local producers!

  • May 1 – Downingtown, 9a-12p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • May 8 – Malvern, 9a-12p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • May 12 – Devon, 11a-2p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • May 13 – Eagleview, 3p-6p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • May 29 – Downingtown, 9a-12p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • June 9 – Devon, 11a-2p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • June 10 – Eagleview, 3p-6p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • June 12 – Malvern, 9a-12p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • June 26 – Downingtown, 9a-12p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • July 7 – Devon, 11a-2p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • July 8 – Eagleview, 3p-6p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • July 10 – Malvern, 9a-12p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • July 24 – Downingtown, 9a-12p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • July 31 – Malvern, 9a-12p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • August 4 – Devon, 11a-2p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • August 7 – Downingtown, 9a-12p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • August 12 – Eagleview, 3p-6p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • August 28 – Malvern, 9a-12p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • September 1 – Devon, 11a-2p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • September 4 – Downingtown, 9a-12p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • September 16 – Eagleview, 3p-6p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • September 25 – Malvern, 9a-12p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • September 29 – Devon, 11a-2p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • October 2 – Downingtown, 9a-12p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • October 14 – Eagleview, 3p-6p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • October 23 – Malvern, 9a-12p / Pre-order & In-Person

Winter Market Dates

Hey folks!  What a year it’s been.  Our bees are all tucked in for winter after a series of treatments to prep them for winter health and survival, and we’re already dreaming of all the colors of Spring pollen they’ll be finding in just a few short months.  We still have honey available for local delivery as well as pick-up and in-person shopping at local farmers markets.  Honey dippers, beeswax candles, hand-printed tea towels are only available in our local delivery radius for now.  We’ve updated all the upcoming market dates through March, and we’ll post them here too:

Upcoming Market Dates:

  • Dec 19 – Malvern, 1-3p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • Dec 22 – Eagleview Pop-Up, 11a-1p / Pre-order & In-Person (In the lot next to The Grove)
  • Jan 7 – Eagleview, 11a-1p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • Jan 9 – Downingtown, 10a-12p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • Jan 16 – Malvern, 10a-12p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • Feb 13 – Downingtown, 10a-12p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • Feb 18 – Eagleview, 11a-1p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • Feb 20 – Malvern, 10a-12p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • Mar 13 – Downingtown, 10a-12p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • Mar 18 – Eagleview, 11a-1p / Pre-order & In-Person
  • Mar 20 – Malvern, 10a-12p / / Pre-order & In-Person

Have a safe and warm winter, and don’t forget honey for your tea and hot toddies!

Final Fall Honey

Our final two batches of honey are available for purchase either online for local delivery in the 19460 or at a variety of local markets.

First up, Batch J!  Available in two sizes – a 12 oz jar and a 16 oz jar, measured by weight, both glass jars.  A very dark honey, probably mostly buckwheat honey with a blend of some clover, Japanese knotweed, and wildflowers. Not quite as dark as a true Buckwheat honey, but we like the lightness the wildflower content brings to keep this from being too intense. This is a dark red-amber color and has notes of coffee and molasses. If you love dark chocolate, red wine, and coffee, this is definitely the honey for you!

Very similar to Batch J, we have Batch K as our last batch of the year!  It’s every so slightly lighter and a little bit more reddish than J, but still has honey made from the nectar of the same basic flower group.  This one is only available in the smaller, 12 oz jars, but we kind of like the smaller size and it’ll probably be available in all the batches next year as well.

And that wraps up our VERY busy season!  We broke records this year in terms of production, thanks in part to the amount of rain we had this summer.  Despite all the extra challenges this year brought us, the bees have kept buzzing on just as usual, and it’s been a comfort to have their constancy as a sort of weekly refuge.  There’s just something about that happy buzzing that sets me in a good mood on every hive visit.  Now we finish up Winter prep and keep our fingers crossed that the hives are ready to go in the Spring!

Early Fall Honey

Due to a tremendous amount of rain this year, our honey season kicked back off for all of August after being fairly quiet in July.  This usually means that our local farmers have planted buckwheat as a cover crop for their fields and that beautiful stuff is finally blooming.  Buckwheat flowers produce boatloads of nectar, and you can imagine that a whole field of the stuff produces a tremendous amount of honey.  This was definitely true this season!  As a result, we now have the darkest honeys of the year coming in, including Batch I, seen above.  Early spring honeys tend to be intensely sweet while darker honeys (influenced by buckwheat) have a rich flavor that’s almost like molasses. So what gives dark honey its color? Much like grapes and wine, the color in honey comes from the same types of compounds called polyphenols. Polyphenols also have antioxidant properties, so the darker the honey, typically the higher the antioxidant content. If you love bold red wines (Chianti or Merlot), dark chocolate, and espresso, you’ll love this honey!

Also available now is a special collaboration with Camphill Soltane in Glenmoore, PA, batch Soltane 2020.  We’ve been working all season alongside the staff to help get their hives set up and running.  Beekeeping has a pretty steep learning curve, and the bees are always doing something new and confusing which makes it a constant learning process.  Each hive can have its own unique quirks too, so they really keep you on your toes!  The honey was collected from the hives on their campus and processed this year at our facility.  Much like Batch I, this is a dark honey and their proximity to farms means it’s probably a good blend of buckwheat, Japanese knotweed, and clover.  Just slightly lighter than I, but tastes rather similar.  If you want to learn more about Camphill Soltane and how the hives will benefit their programs, check out their website: https://www.camphillsoltane.org/

And finally, our last new addition is a culmination of a full year of beekeeping, our 2020 honey sampler!  The sampler contains batches C, E, and G from 2020 each in 5.3 oz by weight jars, packaged in a hand-printed box.  This is something we’ve been working on all year and we’re SO excited to finally see it come together.  If you’ve ever wanted a small taste of each of the season’s honeys, this is a great way to try them all without committing to the full size, 1lb jar.  Makes a great treat for yourself or a gift for a loved one.  My idea for this is a great tasting board with the three honeys, different cheeses, meats, nuts, olives, cocktails or beer, and have a nice date-night-in sort of thing!  Maybe pair it with a good movie or pick out a few records to enjoy while connecting with your favorite human.

As for the bees, the hives are now into Winter prep mode, treating for varroa mites, making sure they stock up on that stinky but wonderful goldenrod nectar and pollen and supplementing with sugar water if need be.  All the hives seem to be doing well so far, the queens are laying eggs like mad to make sure they have enough “winter bees” (read: chunky, fatter bees to survive winter), and kicking out the male drones.  The males are a strain on hive resources, so the workers start evictions around now and by late October, there won’t be a single male in the hive.  The queen will start laying new drone eggs about in February or March (they result from an unfertilized egg), but until then, it’s just the ladies in the house!  This can be a somewhat nerve wracking part of the year as the beekeeper tries to gauge how much resources they need, keep an eye on the mite load and check for a wide variety of viruses that can impact the hive.  Winter survival can be such a tricky thing without all the other stresses that mites and viruses bring, and we always want to do our best to prepare them for winter.  Just like the bees, we’re ready to help you prepare for the winter by stocking up on honey too!  The web shop is open for local delivery (link in menu) and we’re working on getting some markets lined up for October and November.

May 2020 Update

I’m pretty sure life has changed dramatically for all of us in one way or another!  Fortunately, despite all the shut downs, beekeeping is considered agriculture and is exempt under the Pennsylvania Stay-At-Home order, so we’re allowed to continue tending to our bees, and let’s face it, social distancing is pretty easy when you’re surrounded by a cloud of bees!  While the beekeeping side of the business has been pretty normal, our glass jar supplier has suspended in-person order pickups, and shipping is incredibly costly, so this puts a bit of a wrinkle in our future honey bottling.  We have a good bit of stock from 2019 still and a few cases of jars for the 2020 stock, plus buckets to hold the honey as it comes in this summer.  Fortunately, honey has a nearly infinite shelf life, so it’ll hold just fine until we can get access to bottles again!

Although we’re a bit behind the curve on this, we’ve finally got set up for local contact-free honey delivery.  We’d had a few Spring markets planned, so we waited to see how things would pan out, but unfortunately they’ve all been cancelled or postponed.  With a VERY empty schedule and lots of honey on hand, we decided to go ahead and set up an eCommerce site and arrange for local, contact-free delivery within a 1 mile radius of our extracting location in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania.  This is something new for us, so please be patient while we’re sorting out the bumps in this new road!  We’ve got a few new things on the site that we were planning on bringing to markets, as well as a new item or two in the works, coming soon.

Check out our website to order honey for local, contact-free delivery here: https://phoenixvillehoney.square.site/

All of our honey was bottled before December 2019, before the COVID-19 outbreak reached our area.  Jars and other goods have all been held in a separate room, and we’ve been personally following all guidance provided by the state for social distancing, mask wearing, hand washing, etc.  Orders will be filled and delivered on Fridays only, and we will be wearing a mask and gloves with frequent hand sanitizer applications both while packing orders and in between deliveries.  Delivery radius is 1 mile from our extracting location in Phoenixville.  If you’re just outside the delivery area and wish to order honey, please email us (info@phoenixvillehoney.com) and we’ll see if we can work something out!  Unfortunately, we’re not set up to ship honey, so any extended-area deliveries requested via email would still be in-person, contact-free deliveries.

Thank you for supporting this small business and your local honey bees!

Hey Honey

We recently got final approval from the state and are on our way to having honey available!  It’s getting to be late May, so hopefully within the next 2-4 weeks we should have enough capped honey from the hives to do our first processing run.  What is a processing run?  Our beekeeper ‘robs’ frames of capped honey from the hive and brings them to the licensed and inspected processing location.  The wax capping is removed from the frames of honey and then the frame is spun in a centrifugal extractor.  Lather, rinse, and repeat until all the collected frames are empty.  The collected honey in the bottom of the extractor is then flows through a stainless steel mesh strainer that keeps bits of wax, bee parts, and solid pollen out of the final product.  Once the honey is strained and collected in a bottling bucket, individual jars are filled and sealed.  It’s really that simple!  I mean, it’s a decent amount of work, but we don’t do anything to the honey other than run it through the strainer.

All that to say that we’ll be back somewhere between June 7-21 with beautiful jars of local honey that we hope you’ll enjoy as much as we do!